these friends.









While in Orlando we got to meet up with our friends, who have spent the last three months in the U.S.  Our kids reunited as if they’d never been apart.  They return to South Asia on Wednesday and I’m sure would be grateful for your prayers.  We miss them.


i knew target is a magical place.

Ready for the shock of my day?

I was roaming blissfully in Target this afternoon, when I saw someone distinctly familiar ahead of me.  I thought a second.


I know her . . . from South Asia!


It was Tiffany, an American who lived in our city for her husband’s job.  We met each other at church–chasing our toddlers, sweating buckets, in the tiny, upstairs room our church rented on Sunday mornings.

And yet today here we were in bright, air-conditioned Target, in shorts and t’shirts, against a backdrop of racks of bikinis on clearance.  It could not have felt more surreal.

Even weirder is that her family actually now lives in Turkey, but she’s home in Chapin this summer to have a baby (a sweet 4-week-old girl who I got to meet).

What are the chances???

Only at Target.


. . . with my favorite coffee shop

. . . with my favorite rising-college-sophomore

We love each other

And Oliver is happy to be a year old!

this week.

We are spending this week with a couple of David’s college roommates.  We met up in Durham at Nick and Lindsay’s house.  Joshua flew in from CA, though sadly his wife, Sarah, and son, Jacob couldn’t be with him on this trip.

We had two restful days in bright, muggy NC, exploring new playgrounds, coloring with sidewalk chalk, and cooking dinner together, before bringing Joshua back to SC with us for a visit.  He and David leave first thing tomorrow morning to rejoin the Dentels for Phil’s wedding weekend in Atlanta.  The fifth of the Palmetto house guys, John Leaf, is now living with his family in Southeast Asia.

I love old friends like this, the kind you see maybe every couple years but with whom you always pick right back up where you left off.  The kind who you can laugh with, and who you also want to spend time with when life is hard.

This is the first meeting since all of us are parents, and that makes it even more fun.  It feels a little surreal to suddenly be having conversations about dirty diapers and discipline, and exchanging looks of bewilderment in the midst of a two-year-old temper tantrum.  But it’s so fun.  I love seeing this new side to my old friends: discovering that Joshua is a pretty awesome reader of stories and Nick is delightful with his baby girl.

I’m not sure that this summer has found any of us where we expected when we graduated from college.  And there is some disappointment in that.  But there are so many gifts too. Like spouses and all these beautiful children and the fact that God knows far better than we ever could exactly what we need.

we need prayer.

The past two days were a little nightmarish.

David got sick Friday morning, and I followed on Friday afternoon.  Not sure how it happened that we both got so sick almost simultaneously with differing things.  But by Friday night we were each laying on a sofa, shivering with fevers, nauseated, and achey.

Throughout Friday night I was rushing to the bathroom and blacking out almost every time I got up.  We talked on the Vonage phone with company doctors, and they urged me to get to the hospital.  I can’t describe the dread I have of South Asian hospitals right now (no, they are not all bad; yes, I’m probably just not in an emotional frame of mind to deal with them).

So Saturday morning our dear friends-and-nurses, John and Alison, rescued us.  They brought antibiotics.  Providentially, they have four interns staying with them right now, one of whom is an ER nurse in Memphis.  So she and John brought fluids and supplies and hooked me up to an IV right in my own bed.  They hung the bag from our laundry rack.

While I slept throughout the day, Jonathan came and took David to the hospital for tests.  He has some sort of bacterial infection.  It took most of the day to stand in lines and wait for the tests he needed; when he got home at 5 pm, he was so sick and utterly exhausted.

By that time I’d had three bags of fluids and felt remarkably better, though still couldn’t keep much food down.

There are several bright spots in this story:

1.  I feel so deeply, words-cannot-express grateful for our friends here, who, once again took care of us.  This has happened many, many times over the last year-and-a-half with all my sickness, and they never complain.  They have never once made me or our family feel like a burden.

2. Keira the intern, my cheerful, blond angel, who happened to be here to help turn our bedroom into a hospital room.  The other two interns and Kendra who helped take care of our kids.

3. Alison took Judah and Amie to her house for the whole day.  Neither David or I could even budge from bed to feed them breakfast, so Alison came and picked them up, then came back to sit with me throughout the afternoon while David was at the hospital.  She brought me Gatorade with ice cubes and changed my IV bags and helped me talk through what we need to pack so I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed.

The kids ate pancakes and pizza, watched movies, played with Joshua and Caleb, had baths.  Judah told Alison, “This is such a fun day!”  Amie told everyone, “My mommy is getting a shot!”  They came home at bed-time, smiling and happy, bearing get-well gifts for David and me: leaves and a stone from Judah, and a flower from Ams.

It was a gift that Judah and Amie got one more unexpected day with their friends, who all left this morning for a public health class in another state.  We won’t be seeing them for a long time, so I’m so grateful they have such a sweet memory.

[Another note: Alison said as Judah and Joshua were saying their good-bye last night, Judah said, “You wanna Skype on me?” Joshua said “Yep! But I’m going away first, so I’ll Skype on you, then you can Skype on me.”]

4.  Many other friends called, texted, offered to come help, prayed, and will start visiting us today.

So.  Today is a brand new day.

David and I feel better with our antibiotics starting to kick in.  We’re both up and showered this morning and the first load of laundry is in.

My heart is aching with our good-byes, and many more to come in the next three days.

Will you pray for us?

Please pray that we will heal and grow stronger for the plane trip on Tuesday, that the kids will stay healthy.  Please pray that we’ll see our friends and have sweet last moments and that I’ll be able to hold it together.  I feel right now that if I start crying I may never stop.

This isn’t the way I wanted this story to happen.

last breakfast.

the very same breakfast we shared when we first met these friends in Durham, NC: scrambled eggs and Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls

little did Alison know that one year later she’d be a mango lassi-making queen

just what I like to see: the men in the kitchen

“portrait of a tired mommy,” by Judah

Thanks for serving us, John, Alison, Joshua and Caleb! We are going to miss you more than you know.